I read many financial blogs and many I find interesting and some, well they just tick me off. Case in point, I recently read an article on foxbusiness.com (yes I know it's Fox, but I read it anyway) by Naomi Mannino titled Beat Bad Financial Habits to Boost Savings. Now the title alone got my attention. I mean who doesn't want to change their bad habits and create good ones, right? Oh, I was so hopeful that I would read some new bit of wisdom that would make me sit and go, "Wow, I never thought of that!" I was disappointed.
The reality to me is that there is no quick fix for changing habits. Anyone that has had any type of addiction problem can tell you that many of the generic fixes work for a brief time. But true, long-lasting change comes slowly, in small increments. I know imagining myself debt-free and what I would do when I become debt-free can be a small motivator, however it can also create depression. When I'm not achieving my goals quickly enough or making costly mistakes along the way can cause frustration. So instead I recommend looking at what you have accomplished, trying to find a way to journal the journey in a meaningful way, and celebrating the small stuff.
Some months just being able to pay everything and not having to dip into the savings is a huge success for me. Just like a dieter getting through the holidays without gaining. I know in my heart that there is no "silver bullet" that is going to change anything overnight and that perseverance is the only way to the goal line. Failure is not something I have been accepting of in my life. But now I realize failure is a huge part of learning and growing. So no disrespect to the experts cited in the above article, but if it was as simple as "Resist impulse buying" then I would be in fantastic financial and physical shape for that matter! It is not about control it is about the experience. The "High" of buying something that I may not need, but at that moment it is something I want.
I agree that taking yourself out of situations is a good thing. I do not go to the mall as much as I used to and this has helped in my overspending on clothes. But withdrawing myself from all things I love will cause resentment - which will lead to me feeling entitled - which will lead to overspending. That is the truth of the matter, I work hard and I think I deserve to get a pedicure once and a while. So, I have tried to budget for these moments and I have had mixed success. But, moving in the right direction.
I always joke that I am part of the instant gratification "Gen X" group raised with getting everything now instead of later. Anyone else out there from Gen X think that it is a generational thing? That things changed for us because of the availability of credit cards and loans making everything accessible for us?